Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dallas ISD trustees discuss $1.6B bond package that could be on November ballot

The Dallas ISD board hasn’t decided if it will call for a $1.6 billion bond election for November or wait until next year.
Trustees at a workshop Wednesday discussed the draft plan of the bond package that includes nine new and replacement schools, 290 additional classrooms, new libraries and science labs and other improvements.
The Future Facilities Task Force, a community-led group formed by DISD, presented details during the workshop.
Trustees asked questions and offered suggestions. Some want to determine if attendance boundaries can be changed to even out enrollment before adding campuses.
“Why would we move forward talking about new schools when we haven’t talked about attendance zones to determine if some of these children could be moved to other schools?” trustee Joyce Foreman asked.
Some trustees have talked of waiting until May to hold the bond election. The board is planning more discussions in coming weeks. Trustees have until Aug. 24 to decide whether to put the bond election on the November ballot.
Some district officials say the improvements cannot wait.
“The administration and the Future Facilities Task Force believe that a bond election should happen in November, and we believe that very strongly,” Mike Koprowski, DISD’s chief of transformation and innovation, told trustees.
Some have asked for an accounting of the 2008 bond election to determine whether all the work has been completed.
There also were questions about increased operating costs with adding new schools.
Another issue raised Wednesday was paying for the new bond package. A poll by the Dallas Regional Chamber found that DISD voters would approve new spending for the district only if it didn’t raise taxes.
Trustees were presented a plan to have three bond sales — in 2016, 2018 and 2020 — that is expected to maintain the district’s tax rate.
“There is no increase,” said trustee Edwin Flores. “Our tax rate is staying the same. And if we pass this, it will stay the same.”   
Tawnell D. Hobbs/ Dallas M0rning News 


DISD PROPOSED CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM

Item
Cost
Facilities functional equity (roofs, HVAC, plumbing etc.)
$500 million
New schools/replacement schools
$465 million
Educational adequacy improvements (technology, libraries, science labs etc.)
$233 million
Additional classrooms
$193 million
Land acquisition and clearing for new campuses
$112 million
New educational programs
$88 million
Total package cost
$1.6 billion